updated 1/29/2006 11:19:04 AM ET 2006-01-29T16:19:04

Excerpts from the heated exchange between Saddam Hussein and chief judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman after the defense team walked out and the court appointed new lawyers. The ousted leader rejected the new lawyers and demanded to be allowed to leave the trial.

The quotes were translated from Arabic by The Associated Press.  In places, the sound of the video transmission went off; in others the two are talking over each other:

Saddam: “We refuse. This is right of the defendant. (Sound goes out). This is my right. I cannot be forced to accept a court-appointed lawyer. ...

Let me talk to you according to law, the defendant has the right to a lawyer, and the defendant has the right to attend the court session. If he (the defendant) does not attend, the court has the right to issue a judgment in absentia. That means you cannot force me to stay in the courtroom, because this is a right. I am not asking for more than my rights, and you also have the right to issue a judgment in absentia.”

After more arguments:

Abdel-Rahman: “The judges’ panel has stated the law. These are practiced judges and know—”

Saddam (interrupting): “Practiced? I have practiced law. For 35 years I administered your rights. Thirty-five years. ... So I know my rights and the rights of others. So, permit me to leave the courtroom.”

After one of the court-appointed defense lawyers tries to interrupt:

Saddam: “We reject you, and if you remain, then you are evil.”

Adbel-Rahman: “We will not allow you to cross the line with anyone.”

Saddam: “You can’t force me. You can’t force me. This is my right.”

Abdel-Rahman: “I’m not forcing you. But I won’t allow you to cross—”

Saddam (interrupting): “Don’t force me. Don’t force me. This is my right.”

Abdel-Rahman: “I’m implementing the law.”

Saddam: “So that I don’t annoy you and you don’t annoy me.”

Abdel-Rahman: “You’re not annoying me.”

Saddam: “I respect you as an Iraqi. And I will keep respecting you until you give you Iraqi-ness away.”

Abdel-Rahman: “God willing, I’m a sincere Iraqi.”

Saddam: “God willing. So allow me to leave. I cannot tolerate remaining here, at least for this session, until things are resolved properly.”

After Saddam turns as if to leave, holding a Quran and other papers under his right arm:

Abdel-Rahman: “The court has decided to eject him from the room.”

Saddam: “Don’t say ‘eject.’ An Iraqi respects his elders. For 35 years I led you, and you say, ‘Eject him?”’

Abdel-Rahman: “I am a judge and you are a defendant. And you have violated order in the court. I am implementing the law. The judge implements the law.”

Arguing back and forth, as Saddam insists he is not being ejected but is leaving:  

Saddam: “I spoke to you on the basis of law.”

Abdel-Rahman: “You want to leave? The court ejects you.”

Saddam: “You can’t say that.”

After further arguing, guards escort Saddam from the room.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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